Have a question? That’s what friends are for.

A few months ago, I asked my readers: iPhone 4 or wait for iPhone 5?

And the winner is: iPad 2.. which wasn’t even in the running, talk about a dark horse victory. BTW the official poll results were split, between comments and tweets. All the comments helped as I was leaning towards waiting iPhone 5, but then things got interesting.

Jayme Soulati chimed with two things: 1) lifetime costs with data fees and 2) how much she used her iPad 2, while Adam Toporek mentioned the iPad’s limitations as a laptop-replacement.

someecards.com - An iPad is the perfect device for walking people through your flimsy rationalizations for buying an iPad

“I am my office,” which was my reply to Bill Dorman‘s quip that he takes what the office gives. So true, what I spend on one thing is money I can’t spend on another. Right now I’d rather be travel poor than technology poor, even for pretty Apple porn.

“Left to gather dust,”  mentioned Shonali Burke of adding another device to what she already uses. OMG. My big iMac is my principle work machine so even the latest MacBookPro won’t compete with that gorgeous wide screen. Crazy to imagine such a device (which I was considering later this year) collecting dust and yet, per my current workflows it really would. Hmm…

And that was that. After playing with a few friends’ iPads, I realized that I don’t need a workhorse machine (MBP) for the road just yet, and knowing I don’t want the fees or the constant connectivity of a smartphone, the iPad 2 was an easy decision.

Benefit to a small business marketer:

Crowdsourcing. Focus groups. People have opinions. People like to talk.

Use your blog to find out what people want, ask questions and get context and qualitative answers often missing from traditional surveys. If there is something about your product or service that could be improved, help them be happier or get more work done, turn more profit .. many of your readers will be happy to share.

Even better, the answers may lead in completely different directions, maybe even new service or product ideas.

This was time well-spent developing relationships with friends who just may have the answer. FWIW.

Want More? Keep Reading.

17 thoughts on “Have a question? That’s what friends are for.

  1. Congrats on the iPad2 Davina. If I would have known that was an option, I would have voted for that for sure!

    I’m the person who will ask everyone at the table at a restaurant what they’re having and then order something completely different. Sounds like that’s exactly what happened. 😉

    I totally agree with you about using our blogs to ask questions to learn about what our customers want. Just by listening, we can come up with new ideas and go in new directions.
    Marianne Worley recently posted..How I Knew I Would Lose My Job the Day Before it Happened

    1. For some reason, I was fixed on a phone thinking 1) I was saving for new laptop and 2) an iPad was luxury I couldn’t afford right now. What happened Marianne was that I realized a new laptop – one that wouldn’t see a lot of action – was the luxury, and the iPad could do more than a phone in some ways yet keep from being a ‘tweets during dinner’ person. So maybe next year it’s a new computer and for now this works. Thanks.

  2. People do love to help, and asking them to help is like asking me if I want chocolate frosting on my birthday cake. Yes!

    It’s amazing what the collective opinions and advice of others bring forth… sometimes something you hadn’t thought of, like with your iPhone4 or 5 question.

    Crowdsourcing makes me smarter! 🙂

    Peggy Baron recently posted..5 Things I Learned From Walt Disney

    1. Oh, chocolate. It does make me smarter, the discussion in general as well as asking questions and getting answers. I think that’s been my favorite part of social media and blogging in particular Peggy, the great learning experience. Thanks.

    1. I still have my dumb phone, but then I’m free of data plans. And I can reply to comments easily via my iPad as I’m doing now. Next trick for me Bill is to teach this thing – ok, myself – how to get work done, presentations and writing and pitches, all while resisting that Angry Birds crack I just HAD to download. 🙂

  3. I agree with Marcus that we are definitely still learning about crowdsourcing. My gut tells me that it’s more effective within a community than just randomly. Hopefully you get feedback from people you know and trust not to have alternative agendas.

    Also, I must say that G+ is proving to be incredible for crowdsourcing questions.

    Enjoy the Ipad! Check out this link about brain research behind how it looks and feels:
    Adam Toporek recently posted..Surprise! A Lesson in Superior Customer Service

    1. Thanks Adam, I’ll check out that post. I knew enough about my readers that they’re a perfect group to ask; lots of smartphone owners but with different workflows … some solo, some all mobile, etc. etc. It was much better than random.. and I got a nice handful of tweet replies too.

      I need to expand or update my G+ Circles, as well as search or find some of the discussions. Kinda like Twitter, find the topics and posts I want to jump in and join.. see what’s what.

  4. I think we’re all still very much learning and understanding this whole crowdsourcing thing Davina. Even though Facebook and Twitter have been out a few years, we’re still not used to putting questions out there for everyone and then just letting them do the work. But when someone actually attempts this, and sees the power behind the synergy, it’s an awesome experience.

    Great point lady, 🙂

    Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion recently posted..The 13 Best and Most Powerful Blog Header Designs on the Internet

    1. It’s one of the best parts of building a community Marcus. I’m happy to talk to others, offer opinions and help a friend think through a decision.. hopefully give some insight or perspective that clarifies the matter. This was surprising .. how well a few comments based on personal experience helped me think through this. Of course, it’ll always depend on the question, but there are times that your community can be a good mini-focus group.

  5. I crowdsource all kids of things. I just posted on Facebook that I needed recommendations for a seafood restaurant for my birthday dinner. I got a list of restaurant names, and my boyfriend hit Yelp! and all of their websites to make a choice.

    It worked out better than I could have ever hoped for. People want to be helpful, especially if they like a product, or a restaurant or whatever.

    We actually have been doing this for a really long time. We just don’t think of it as word-of-mouth, but that’s what it is! 🙂

    Speaking of gizmos, I got a video camera for my birthday, so a vlog is in the near future. 🙂
    Nancy Davis recently posted..A Time To Be Silent – And A Time To Speak Up

    1. Restaurants are always fun to ask about (put both the Yelp and TripAdvisor apps on my iPad already) .. anything travel really, as you get the insider’s view and maybe find some local gems. You’re right.. it’s WoM gone digital. Look forward to seeing a vlog Nancy, thanks.

  6. Oh, I love the crowdsource and I don’t do it enough! I was noodling on buying a vacuum over the weekend, and then I thought I needed to make a blog post out of it and look behind the social media covers to see who is pushing vacs and then look at the various ways C to B happens!!

    I think I like that new marketing descriptor — C-to-B (anyone using that yet)? You heard it here first.

    iPad2 — my favorite gizmo in the whole wide world.
    Jayme Soulati recently posted..Follow Friday Thanks, Community

    1. It’s a cool iToy that hits the sweet spot between the phone and laptop and will really help. Now, what are the good biz apps? (Already have Dragon and Evernote on there). “C to B” marketing. Good one Jayme and it does work. One such story I like is Gini’s on a tweet for help got her to switch rental car companies. Pays to listen when people ask for help. FWIW.

  7. Yay iPad2! Definitely FTW.

    I’ve always been amazed at how generous people are with their advice when I ask questions, whether it’s through the blog, Twitter, Facebook, or even Google+ (which I’m really not using as much as many people are). That is indeed what friends are for.
    Shonali Burke recently posted..New Study Finds You Suck

    1. Can’t wait to find the study that confirms my suckiness.. always suspected Shonali. 🙂 We like to talk, share opinions.. think of the businesses and brands you’d love to give a piece of your mind – good and bad. Asking the community for help once in a while, it can work.

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